Will Construction Equipment Damage my yard?

Offering reliable landscaping services to homeowners in British Columbia since 2013

Picture of Natasha Maerz

Natasha Maerz

Owner/Office Manager

If you are a homeowner that has gone through any type of renovation, you know that things start to look “worse” before they look better, due to the excavation process. 

It can be quite intimidating to have a renovation project done either inside or outside of your home, especially when you already have an established house and yard.

One of the main concerns that homeowners have about their landscaping projects is if their existing area is going to be safe.

Keeping an excavation area clean is near impossible, but if you hire the right contractor they will do their best to keep the area as neat and clean as they can during the project.

Once the project is done, you definitely want it to look like no one was on your property, and now you have a beautiful patio, retaining wall (fill in the blank).

So, how can you ensure that your yard will be protected?

 

While some damage is unavoidable ( some plants or trees may need to be removed to allow equipment into your yard) there are things that your contractor can do to keep your space protected.

 

Damage From Travel:

The truth is an unprotected surface in most cases will show signs of travel across it.

Tire ruts form quickly over a lawn with a tracked machine, while wheeled machines often get a dozen crossings before wearing a path in them.

Concrete is almost always impervious to rubber tracks or tires, but will quickly be chewed up by steel tracks.

It is usually better to  protect surfaces with a temporary plywood road, however in some cases it would be a smarter decision to repair the site afterwards instead of protecting.

 

As a homeowner, you have two options when it comes to the state of your lawn. Protect or repair.

Protection Vs Repair:

Protect:

  • Finished decorative concrete and landscape
  • Existing beautiful lawns and flower beds
  • Patios and pool decks
  • Any other surface you don’t want damaged

Repair:

  • Unfinished landscape
  • Unusually long routes in excess of 150’
  • Gravel driveway or parking lots
  • When it’s the smarter option and mutually agreed upon

 

When protecting your surface, you can expect that their will be added costs due to the labor involved to avoid damage to your lawn, plants and trees.

Damage From Excavating

Excavating itself is not usually considered damage as this is why the project is happening.

However, what is often overlooked is where the spoils (excavated material) from excavation end up.

Let’s say you hire an excavator to dig you a large hole. You probably will expect the area to be dug up, but what you may not expect is a large pile of dirt that will sit next to the hole, and kill the lawn underneath it.

Likewise, it’s more than likely if this is happening in your backyard, another machine will be hauling this soil to the front yard where it will be piled in wait for a dump truck to haul it away.

On a large project this may be unavoidable, as you want to have a stockpile of material ready for when the dump truck arrives.

(It can be costly to keep a large truck onsite while you’re excavating.)

Smaller projects can be completed a little cleaner if your contractor can haul their own material and load the truck throughout the day.

Damage to existing fences, vinyl or Hardie board siding is a valid concern when considering machines being used in tight spaces.

This is easily avoided by lining the area with plywood to protect it from getting damaged.

Site Cleanup

Regardless of whether you choose to protect or repair there is always cleanup at the end of every project.

It may be as quick as using a blower to revive the matted down grass under the plywood, or as beneficial as grading the site with a HARLEY RAKE to remove all the rocks, and debris unearthed from an excavation.

While it is not always possible, homeowners should try doing all landscaping and hardscaping they are looking to have done at the same time.

By having everything done at the same time homeowners will only have to remedy their yards once, instead of having to tear up their yard many times and repair it each time a new project is done.

Another aspect to keep in mind is that once certain project are complete ( like a retaining wall or fence) it may not be possible to get machines into an area that you are looking to have other work done in.

By having your projects done together you will be able to ensure that equipment can get into your yard.

If equipment cannot gain access to your yard and hand digging will occur, not only will you be paying more for labor costs, but your contractor will most likely cheat the project due to how labor intense it can be to not use machines.